Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Book Publishing Secrets with John Herrick, Author of 'Beautiful Mess'

Name:  JohnHerrick
Book Title:  Beautiful Mess
Genre:  Mainstream fiction (romantic comedy)
Publisher:  Segue Blue
Thank you for your time in answering our questions about getting published.  Let’s begin by having you explain to us why you decided to become an author and pen this book?
Author:  Honestly, if I don’t write, I feel like a part of me dies a slow death. That might be a combination of wanting to fulfill my life’s purpose and the imbalanced nature of an artist. Every artist seems to be a little screwed up! But I love to explore people—observe what they do, consider why they do it, and imagine how they might respond in various situations. That’s the essence of writing a novel.
Why did I write Beautiful Mess? I love ensemble casts and wanted to write a fun ensemble romantic-comedy. The original inspiration for the Marilyn Monroe angle hit me when I read a biography about the actress. I learned she spent time—against her will—in a mental institution. I couldn’t shake that idea. I wondered how that experience might have affected her. Did it leave scars? Did it make her paranoid? Did it break her heart? Somehow, the ensemble and Marilyn Monroe ideas clicked.
You can find out more about Beautiful Mess at my website, www.johnherrick.net. 
Is this your first book?
Author:  Beautiful Mess is my fourth novel. I also have a nonfiction book out. Every book is different, and each project offers the opportunity to improve your craft. Learning never stops.
With this particular book, how did you publish – traditional, small press, Indie, etc. – and why did you choose this method?
Author:  Small indie press. I love the collaborative nature, having the opportunity to be personally involved in every aspect of the book, not just as a writer, but in the book design, its market positioning, strategy. It also allows me more freedom to experiment where needed, to grow as a writer while bearing in mind the commercial aspect of the book.
Can you tell us a little about your publishing journey?  The pros and cons?
Author:  I fell in love with writing when I was 8 years old, so entering adulthood with years of practice and refinement under my belt were an advantage. My first opportunity to write for the public was writing commercial copy for a radio station, which gave me firsthand experience adapting my approach to meet a need. I had to ask myself, “Who’s my audience? What do they care about? How can I get my message across in a way that intrigues them? How far can I stretch without alienating them? What goal does the client want to achieve?” That’s what writing a book boils down to. It’s not simply telling a story; it’s telling your story in a targeted way that accomplishes goals. It’s a matter of looking for win-win scenarios, identifying a niche that nobody has met, and filling that gap. To paraphrase music producer Pharrell Williams, you identify your lane and occupy it.
One “pro” is the relationships you build along the way—the opportunity to collaborate with people who are great at what they do, who know more about particular areas than you do, and glean from them. Another pro is that it hones your skills, forcing you to evaluate all your good ideas, identify the best one, then invest a chunk of your life developing the best possible experience for your readers.
The “con” is that it always takes longer that you wish it would. If you’re starting out as a writer and have an idea of how long you expect the process to unfold, it’s probably a good idea to multiply that timeframe by 5 or 10. You’ll undergo a lot of rejection, get your heart broken, and be forced to either grow stronger or quit. But it’s worth pressing forward! (And that con turns into a pro, because it helps you develop patience. It disciplines you to think and plan long-term.)
What lessons do you feel you learned about your particular publishing journey and about the publishing industry as a whole?
Author:  Everything takes time. My attitude plays a significant part—I try to identify as many things to celebrate as possible and view the journey as a chance to learn. A large project appears daunting, but the key is to make it practical. Break it down into smaller, achievable parts. It’s OK to start small.
Would you recommend this method of publishing to other authors?
Author:  Sure. Find the method that offers a win-win scenario, where you achieve your goals as an artist and you meet the needs of the team that represents you.
What’s the best advice you can give to aspiring authors?
Author:  Be kind. To everyone. Trust me.


Friday, July 21, 2017

Book Publishing Secrets with Thriller Author George A. Bernstein

Genre: Suspense
Publisher: GnD Publishing LLC
Thank you for your time in answering our questions about getting published.  Let’s begin by having you explain to us why you decided to become an author and pen this book?
George: I was able to retire fairly early, and my wife said, “You don’t love golf or playing cards. Why don’t you write a novel?” I was always a good storyteller, and had written several articles for national fishing magazines, so it seemed like a good idea. I began my first suspense novel, Trapped, in 1990. I attended several writers’ conferences and seminars, learning to polish my craft. Good writing takes more than just natural talent.
Is this your first book?

George: No, this is my fifth, and the third of my Detective Al Warner series. I have two more outlined and one, the 4th Warner novel, partially written
With this particular book, how did you publish – traditional, small press, Indie, etc. – and why did you choose this method?
George: The Prom Dress Killer is published by small indie publisher, GnD Publishing LLC, in which I have an interest. They are now the publishers for all 5 of my novels.
Can you tell us a little about your publishing journey?  The pros and cons?
George: In the beginning, I researched agents, wrote the best query letters I could … and fielded the form letter rejections, one after another. I attended writers conferences, pitched editors and agents, several of which agreed to read Trapped, but still ultimately rejected it. However, I got some good feedback, rewrote the novel, removing a side plot that I loved after both an agent and an editor suggested it … and then fielded more rejections. Meanwhile, I began my next novel, and then miraculously, after only 20 years, Trapped was selected as “The Next Great American Novel” by TAG Publishers, a small traditional publisher, and went on to become an Amazon Top 100 novel, with loads of 5-Star reviews. Getting traditionally published takes unending preservation and a very thick skin.  Be prepared for failure.
Because of this, many authors opt for self-publishing. The problem most have, however, is they don’t do the work required to become a great author. And few of them spend the money for a good editor, which can run well over $2000 for a typical manuscript. Their finished product reflects those omissions. If you just want to write your novel and don’t really care about sales, that’s fine. The typical self-published novels rarely sells 100 copies over its entire life.
What lessons do you feel you learned about your particular publishing journey and about the publishing industry as a whole?
George: Don’t give up; be willing to accept constructive criticism and make changes in you “baby”; and keep writing. Most author’s first novel don’t sell, and stories of famous authors surviving years of rejection before “hitting it big” are legion.
Would you recommend this method of publishing to other authors?
George: If you’re determined to find a traditional publisher, you MUST get an agent – no daunting task. Most publishers will not even consider an unagented work. The best path to finding an agent is by attending writers’ conferences that feature agent and editor pitch sessions. Agents you meet there will often look at works they would never glance at through normal query channels.
What’s the best advice you can give to aspiring authors?
George: Write what you MUST, not what you think you SHOULD, based on current trends. By the time you finish your book, the current fad will have run its course. You’ll always do a better job on a story you’re passionate about



Thursday, June 29, 2017

Book Publishing Secrets with Thriller Author Darden North

Genre: Fiction/Thriller
Publisher: WordCrafts Press
Thank you for your time in answering our questions about getting published.  Let’s begin by having you explain to us why you decided to become an author and pen this book?
     I enjoy putting pen to paper (or fingertips to keyboard) and with this novel began to explore the five ways to die.
Is this your first book? 
     No, “The Five Manners of Death” is my fifth novel.
With this particular book, how did you publish – traditional, small press, Indie, etc. – and why did you choose this method?
     Small Press. “The Five Manners of Death” was accepted by WordCrafts Press, a small press that offered publication in both hardcover print and trade paperback as well as online digital. When my query was accepted, I quickly recognized that editor Mike Parker saw the potential of this unique story and possessed publication vision and experience.
Can you tell us a little about your publishing journey?  The pros and cons?
     My first three novels were self-published and successful in their own right in that about 17,000 copies collectively were sold. I then wanted a partner in this journey and reopened the process of querying agents and publishers.  My fourth novel, “Wiggle Room,” was published by Sartoris Literary Group.
What lessons do you feel you learned about your particular publishing journey and about the publishing industry as a whole?
     No matter how large or small the publisher—whether traditional, indie, small press, or the self-publishing route—every author must bravely market themselves and their own work. There is no place for ignorance in learning the value of social media, and there is plenty of room for humility.
Would you recommend this method of publishing to other authors?
     As long as the author is willing to engage with readers and book promoters and sellers, both online and face-to-face—including bricks and mortar bookstores—there is room for success for any author in any genre.
What’s the best advice you can give to aspiring authors?
     Expectations low … Serenity high.